The San Antonio Spurs blew out the Portland Trail Blazers, 104-82, at the AT&T Center on the way to a 4-1 series win.
With the victory Wednesday night, the Spurs will move on to the Western Conference Finals for the third straight season.
After a difficult seven-game series in the first round, it appears as though San Antonio is back on track and a legitimate contender to end the reign of the Miami Heat.
"I'm glad that's over." Gregg Popovich— Ben Golliver (@BenGolliver) May 15, 2014
Key Player Grades: San Antonio Spurs
Tony Parker, Point Guard
Tony Parker played just 10 minutes before being ruled out with soreness in his hamstring. He took just two shots and scored zero points.
The loss of Parker didn't hurt the Spurs, but lingering effects could become an issue in the future.
Even if he does struggle in the next round, the Spurs are the best-equipped team to handle injuries thanks to their incredible depth.
Tim Duncan, Power Forward
Tim Duncan had to take on a slightly heavier scoring load with Parker out. He played 36 minutes—seven more than his season average—and made six of 13 shots. He finished with 16 points and eight rebounds.
We knew Duncan's role would get bigger in the postseason, and thanks to the management of his minutes throughout the year, he looks fresh for this stretch run.
He made a couple of mid-range jumpers and bank shots that could be reminders to any teams left standing that Duncan still has the ability to impact a game.
Kawhi Leonard, Small Forward
As Kawhi Leonard continues to emerge as a legitimate star, Spurs fans have to feel better and better about their team's chance at a title.
He was a nightmare once again, scoring 22 points on 9-of-15 shooting, grabbing seven rebounds and showing off the athleticism that makes him a nightmare in the open court.
And even as his offense continues to progress, his real value may be on defense. He dominated his matchup on both ends of the floor, holding Nicolas Batum to just 10 points on 3-of-9 shooting.
Tiago Splitter, Center
Due in part to a little foul trouble, Tiago Splitter didn't have much of an impact as a scorer. Fortunately, he didn't really need to.
Leonard and Danny Green carried the load offensively, and Duncan did a solid job on LaMarcus Aldridge while Splitter was out.
The Spurs center finished the game with four points and seven assists.
Danny Green, Shooting Guard
Green's slump has been one of the only concerns for the Spurs during this series. Well, we may be able to put that to bed following this performance.
He ended the slump in explosive fashion, scoring 22 points on 9-of-13 shooting, including 4-of-6 from three-point range.
He looked confident on his jump shot, pulling the trigger on the catch or off the dribble in transition.
Danny Green is getting out a lot of repressed frustration.— Jesse Blanchard (@blanchardJRB) May 15, 2014
Plus, he was his typically solid self on defense as well, grabbing nine rebounds and spending time on both Wesley Matthews and Damian Lillard, who combined to shoot 12-of-28 from the field.
Manu Ginobili, Shooting Guard
Manu Ginobili's shooting woes continued, but he still managed to contribute as the orchestrator of the offense at times with Parker out.
He finished the game with four rebounds and three assists in 19 minutes. Those parts of his game seem consistent no matter how much he struggles as a scorer.
Gotta give Ginobili this: Even when he's shooting poor, still battles ferociously. Doesn't let scoring dictate his game.— Dan McCarney (@danmccarneysaen) May 15, 2014
When he gets back on track there—he went just 4-of-11 for nine points in this one—the Spurs will be ridiculously dangerous.
Without question, the biggest factor off the best bench in the league was Patty Mills. He replaced the injured Parker and blew up for 18 points on 8-of-17 shooting.
No one would claim that the Spurs wouldn't miss Parker if he's out for an extended period, but having someone as explosive as Mills would certainly soften the blow.
The other player who got some serious run off the bench was Boris Diaw, who struggled on his way to five points on 2-of-8 shooting.
Key Player Grades: Portland Trail Blazers
LaMarcus Aldridge, Power Forward
You certainly can't fault Aldridge for his team failing to hold off elimination. He managed to put together a solid game against the stingy defense of Splitter and Parker, scoring 21 points on 10-of-21 shooting.
He also grabbed 10 rebounds, as he battled inside all game long.
He simply didn't get enough help from his supporting cast to make any kind of threat.
Damian Lillard, Point Guard
Lillard's had an excellent sophomore campaign, but he looked like he finally ran out of gas against the Spurs while trying to keep up with the boundless energy of Mills.
Damian Lillard is fatigued. It doesn't look like he has much left in this series. The Spurs have pounded him good.— Chris Haynes (@ChrisBHaynes) May 15, 2014
He was attacking as ferociously as usual, but he looked maybe a half step slower and his shots weren't falling in the mid-range or on the perimeter. He shot 7-of-18 for 17 points.
He seemed to adjust to his inability to get going as a scorer by distributing the ball more, as he finished with a game-high 10 assists.
Nicolas Batum, Small Forward
Batum struggled to score against the defense of Leonard, as he totaled just 10 points. He was still one of the best Blazers on the floor, though.
He made up for his struggles from the field by grabbing a team-high 12 rebounds and dishing out five assists.
However, it bears mentioning again that he couldn't contain Leonard on the other end.
Wesley Matthews, Shooting Guard
Matthews had a tough time getting started but wound up shooting 50 percent by the time the final buzzer sounded. He dropped 14 points on 5-of-10 shooting, including 2-of-4 from three-point range.
On the other end, his defense wasn't quite as tight as it usually is. Granted, Green hit some contested shots, but Matthews typically has more of an impact as a defender.
Robin Lopez, Center
As he did for most of the season, Robin Lopez provided a steady, quiet post presence that may not get the credit it deserves.
He doesn't demand a lot of touches but still manages to be productive by taking advantage of the few opportunities he gets around the rim.
He had a near double-double with nine rebounds and 12 points on 5-of-7 shooting.
Will Barton, Shooting Guard
When Mo Williams went down earlier in the series, Will Barton played well in his stead and locked himself into the sixth-man role for Game 5.
Will Barton has made quite the statement in the playoffs.— Maxwell Ogden (@MaxwellOgden) May 15, 2014
He struggled in the closeout game, scoring just six points on 2-of-9 shooting, but Barton proved he has some ability on the national stage during the postseason.
Lack of depth has plagued the Blazers for a couple of years now, and the weakness was glaring against the Spurs.
The entire second unit combined to go 3-of-16 from the field for eight points.
The Spurs will now get some rest as they await the winner of the series between the Los Angeles Clippers and Oklahoma City Thunder.
For the Blazers, they head into the offseason with a lot to be happy about. They have a very talented and balanced starting five. If they can add some depth in the next few months, they could make some noise next year.
"It was a special year. ... I thought every one of our starters had career years. ... We got a taste of success." Terry Stotts— Ben Golliver (@BenGolliver) May 15, 2014